Advertising Co-regulation: Does the Cat Guard the Cream?

TitleAdvertising Co-regulation: Does the Cat Guard the Cream?
Publication TypeConference Paper
Author(s)Ginosar, A.
Affiliation (1st Author)The Max Stern Academic College of Emek Yezreel
Section or WGPolitical Economy Section
DateFri 28 June
Slot CodePEF1c
Slot Code (Keyword)PEF1c
Time of Session9:00-10:30
Session TitleAdvertising Industries and Political Economy
Submission ID4887

The advertising industry has been a regulated sector since its birth. For decades, state regulation (“command and control”) and self-regulation have operated side by side, yet separately.  In recent years, as in many other sectors, there is a trend for co-regulation of the industry. This means, that the state and the industry collaborate in regulating the industry, in some cases with the participation of societal actors as well. This paper aims at (a) placing co-regulation in the broader context of the New Governance, a concept that addresses the shift from the traditional hierarchical mode of control (usually conducted by national governments) to a variety of more pluralistic and flexible modes of control, conducted by various types of actors and in various levels of governance; (b) pointing to the  variety of co-regulation systems which  defer from each other with regard to the extent of collaboration between the state and private and/or societal actors; and (c)  suggesting a conceptual framework for classifying and analyzing co-regulation systems. The suggested framework consists of four categories: legal basis, institutional arrangements, allocation of responsibilities, and main features of the regulatory system such as independent, transparency, and enforcement capacity.  This conceptual framework was then applied to analyze the regulatory system of broadcast advertisements on Israeli commercial TV channels. The findings reveal a regulatory mechanism which consists of four different paths through which advertisements are regulated. This mechanism is partially based on the law and partially on an agreement between the state regulatory authority, the broadcasters, and the advertising industry. Although this regulatory system can be seen as co-regulation, the analysis of the regulatory process during seven years (2004-2010) demonstrates that the state regulator uses the co-regulation system as only a lip service rather than as a real collaboration with the industry. The theoretical contribution of this study consists of two main levels: (a) when addressing different co-regulatory systems, the suggested conceptual framework enables putting each system on a continuum which its one end is “command and control” regulation and the other is “self-regulation”. Since co-regulation systems are characterized by the collaboration between state, industry, and societal actors, no such system is placed at one of these two ends, but rather they spread along the continuum in-between according to the level of collaboration; (b) the conceptual framework suggests that the more the co-regulatory system is based on the law and on joint regulatory institutions which are independent from both the state and the industry, the more the system is both efficient and the better it aims at achieving public interests.

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